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Release-Day Review: The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice

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The Heavens Rise by Christopher RiceThe Heavens Rise
Christopher Rice
Published: October 15, 2013 (Gallery Books)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Mary

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

Before Katrina hit New Orleans, Nikki Delongpre got hit with her own personal hurricane. Marshall Ferriot, rich, smart, and psychotic, set his sights on her and went to great lengths to get her all to himself. After her break up with her long-time boyfriend, Nikki was flattered by the attention until she realized just how violent Marshall could be and what his attention would mean.  On a trip to her family’s weekend home, a dip into the pool revealed not only how dark Marshall’s intentions were, but also a strange swamp parasite that left both Nikki and Marshall very different.

Tragedy soon struck both as Nikki’s family went missing, presumed dead, and Marshall made an attempt at suicide, that left him brain dead and in a long-term care facility. Years later, Nikki’s friends were still trying to deal with her disappearance and Marshall’s sister was trying to milk the trust set up to pay for his care. But in the Bayou, things are rarely what they seem to be, and this author likes a crazy twist or two in his stories. 

The Heavens Rise was a fast-paced book that jumped between the present and the past to really stretch out the tension. The author revealed only bits of information at a time and really kept you guessing. Most of the book actually followed Nikki’s school friend Ben, a journalist, who guided the reader through the very twisting waters of this book and provided a human perspective to this supernatural thriller.

Having never read a book by this author (or his mother for that matter), I was unsure what to expect. This was a very dark book. Marshall was a genuine psychopath, who wanted to hurt those around him. He needed to hurt them. I did not personally enjoy the portions of the book from his perspective. The author intended for those passages to be disturbing and to make the reader feel uncomfortable, and he most certainly succeeded. The gentle, southern setting made the violent nature of the book seem worse somehow. It was out of place and unexpected, which kept with the theme of the book. So many times, the characters never saw it coming.

The Heavens Rise was difficult to put down.  Even though it was more violent than I like my books, the characters, especially Ben, were so real and engaging that I felt like I had to see the book through to then end and find out what happened to them. That being said, I did not give the book a ‘5’ because I really had a little difficulty believing in the transformative supernatural element of the book (that will make sense if you read it, but won’t give anything away if you haven’t).  This was a book that was so grounded in reality, that I found it very disturbing.  Then, it went just a step too far. I’ll buy ‘swamp sperm’ parasites, mutant powers, and medical miracles, but let’s not get ridiculous, folks.

Sexual content: Kissing, attempted rape

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